Comparing pool quotes isn’t always easy
If you’re looking to buy a home swimming pool, it’s great to have a wide range of options as a consumer. But if there are too many variables, prices, and industry-specific jargon, things can get a little confusing in a real hurry.
In this simple guide, we’ll run you through the most important things to consider when going through the pool quote comparison process. Whether you’re looking for a fibreglass inground pool or an above ground pool, we’ve got you covered.
Lowest Price = Best?
Pools aren’t necessarily the cheapest investment. We understand that the least expensive option will often look most tempting, especially if there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between products. Shaving a little of the price isn’t a bad idea, right?
However, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true when it comes to purchasing a new pool for your home. Pools require a redesign of your garden space and even the ‘cheap’ pools run into the thousands of dollars.
Remember, your new pool will give you and your family enjoyment for many years to come. If you spread out the cost over 10 years, for example, is saving a few extra dollars really worth it? We recommend thinking long-term value, rather than short-term cost cutting.
Most people tend to think of the up-front costs alone when buying a pool. And that’s a mistake. For many low-cost products, the running costs mean that you’ll actually end up paying more over the lifetime of the product.
For example, consider companies that are building pools adhering to the Australian and New Zealand 100 series standards; in other words, 100 kilos per measurement of the vinyl ester resins. Our pools, on the other hand, feature the 300 series, which equates to three times the vinyl ester resins for manufacturing the pool.
Our ceramic-composite fibreglass swimming pools also have the advantage of having superior insulation, meaning that maintaining that ideal water temperature is not only easier, but cheaper. These costs can really build up in the long run, and it’s worth investing in quality materials.
Consider Needs, Not Price
It’s easy to get swept away by a company’s sales pitch or a ‘good deal’. That’s not the way we recommend approaching the pool buying process, however. Our mantra is that a product should not only be of the highest quality, but that it should also meet the specific needs of the individual customers.
Consider how you want to use your pool beyond today. Should circumstances change, is it easy to alter the existing setup? If you want to sell your home, will future buyers have the same flexibility?
It’s a good idea to discuss these thoughts with your swimming pool provider. Find out what they can do for you, and whether they can tailor the quote to your needs.
Are There Any Hidden Costs?
At Ultimate Pools, we pride ourselves on transparent costs. There’s nothing hidden or missing in our initial quotes. But this isn’t always the case across the board, however.
It is advisable that you ensure some of the basic essentials have not been left off the quote. For example, concrete bond beams, tipping fees, and stabilised backfill are often missing but are required components in any standard installation. Cheaper quotes are often lower simply because these items have been missing.
How Long Will It Take?
Consumers often hurry down to the bottom of the quote to look for the price. But there are other factors that are important. Take the amount of time it takes to install the pool, for example.
Some companies take weeks or even months to get through the process, depending on their deliverables and any issues that may arise. We at Ultimate Pools, however, understand that taking longer than a couple of weeks is a nuisance. It disturbs your routine, may annoy the neighbours, and it prevents you from enjoying your new purchase as soon as possible.
That’s why we take approximately 5-10 days to install your new pool in your backyard; it’s a quick and straightforward turnaround that won’t hit the pause button on your life.
Same Materials, Different Quality
Companies will often advertise that their pools are constructed using quality fibreglass materials. There’s one problem: there’s a high amount of variance depending on the specific materials being used.
At Ultimate Pools, for example, we use a ceramic core and bi-luminite surface. This technology is far higher quality than your standard fibreglass pool available in Auckland. This fibreglass compound is mixed with millions of ceramic spheres, creating a tightly wound bond that creates a super tough surface.
This means that all of our pools are highly resistant to the effects of being submerged in water, as well as the effects of exposure to chemicals and UV. You get the advantages of a quick and easy installation, but none of the associated downfalls.
So, if you decide to opt for a fibreglass provider elsewhere, ask whether you are signing up to a high-quality product that is designed to withstand the test of time. If not, is it really worth trading a poor product for a lower price and a quick installation?
Companies can promise anything under the sun, but whether they will actually deliver is another question. When looking at a quote, don’t limit yourself to what’s written on that piece of (virtual) paper.
Think about the reputation of the company you’re dealing with. How long have they been in business? What is their reputation? Check their reviews on Google, Facebook, and check whether the website has a comprehensive testimonials section. Have a quick once-over to ensure the reviews come across as legitimate and haven’t been fabricated.
At Ultimate Pools NZ, for example, we have a selection of video case studies and a Facebook page full of photos of installed pools, from small inground pools to extensive above ground swimming pools. We also have testimonials from customers who have had their pools for many years, including a couple who bought one in 2007 and it’s still going strong (and they’ve also never cleaned their pool manually!).
In addition to the company doing the installation work (whether an individual builder or a pool company), you should also consider the pool manufacturer. This is an important factor that many people don’t consider, instead primarily focusing solely on who is doing the actual installation.
But the origin of the materials matters. If you buy a television, you want a reliable brand like Samsung or Sony, right? Find out where the parts were made. Don’t assume that just because you are dealing with an Australian or New Zealand company that the materials will come from the same location.
This is also important when it comes to the warranty of the product. If something goes wrong, is your purchase protected by the terms of the warranty? Talk to the person or company who is doing the installation; do they have a reliable process in place to replace faulty items? Who should you contact if you need to make a warranty claim? Considering these are expensive items, it’s worth looking into.
It’s worth delving a little deeper into the warranty issue. Do you understand the warranties being offered? Have you read the fine print? There are a few important points to watch out for.
Consumers are often enticed by so-called ‘lifetime warranties.’ But what does that really mean? It could mean the life expectancy of the product, or the lifetime warranty could be for you, the initial purchaser.
At Ultimate Pools, we operate on what’s called a lifetime structural warranty. This warranty is also transferrable, which is something that is not offered by every pool company. This is the way it works: using our registration process, you can transfer the lifetime warranty to another owner. It covers 25 years from that initial purchase date, giving you peace of mind when you purchase any of our products.
This is a real bonus when selling your property, for example. Considering the average house in Auckland is owned for just seven years, if the warranty isn’t transferrable, you have a potential issue on your plate.
Talk It Over With Your Provider
Once you’ve gone over the quote with a fine-toothed comb, talk things over with the company that’s provided the quote. Negotiate on the wording on sections you’re not happy with, and if you’re not sure about anything just ask. There are no stupid questions; it’s a big investment, and the provider is there to help you.
The main thing is to make sure that you will be getting what you think you’re getting. Don’t assume anything, and if it’s not written down, get it on paper. It’s the safest way and ensures you’re covered should anything happen.
Do Your Due Diligence!
Ultimately, signing on that dotted line will be your decision, and yours alone. Reading the fine print and doing a little bit of research can be a little boring and time consuming, but it’s worth it. Remember, your new pool is for the long haul, and you will not be replacing it for many years.
Quick quote checklist:
- Is the pump and filtration system quoted the right size for your pool? Don’t get caught out!
- Do you have a clear understanding of the contract and provisional allowances.
- What reputation does the pool builder have? Are they happy to let you speak to past customers?
- Do you understand the warranties being offered? Have you read the fine-print?
- Consider the ongoing running costs of the pool – often ‘cheaper now’ does not mean cheaper in the long run!
- Does the quote actually achieve what you will be looking for in the years ahead?